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Work gets underway on new county jail
groundbreaking pic 1
Local officials and invited guests turned over the first shovels of dirt Friday morning at the site that will be home to Stanislaus Countys new public safety center. - photo by Photo Contributed

The first shovels of dirt were turned over Friday for the new Stanislaus County Public Safety Center.

The groundbreaking ceremony, attended by local and state officials, Sheriff Adam Christianson, and the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, was the official start of the construction on the $113 million project that will greatly increase the county’s jail capacity and launch new programs aimed at decreasing recidivism rates.

The project is coming to fruition because of a partnership between the State of California and Stanislaus County. It is the first project in California to utilize AB 900 Phase II funds, also known as the Local Jail Construction Financing Program established by the State Public Works Board and the first to begin construction. The total cost of the facility is estimated at $113 million, with $80 million coming from the state grant.

“I have mixed emotions about having to build more jail facilities,” said Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Stan Risen. “Initially I thought there was no way we would ever come up with the needed funding. With this grant this will address a critical need in our county for 10 cents on the dollar.”

In June the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors awarded two contracts to Hensel Phelps for a total of $82.6 million to construct two maximum security units, a health care unit, and support facilities. Total the new facility will have 552 beds.

The Board of Supervisors also previously awarded a $4.4 million contract to Simile Construction Service to build a Day Reporting Center at the site that will be used by the probation department for check-ins, substance abuse counseling, life skills and job training.

“This one stop shops … are a progressive way of thinking and sets Stanislaus County ahead in the state,” said Stanislaus County Chief Probation Officer Jill Silva.

The Public Safety Center, located next to the sheriff’s department on E. Hackett Road in Ceres, will also have an Intake, Release, and Transportation facility.

“This facility will meet the needs of the community for years to come,” said Christianson.

The project is scheduled to be complete in late 2016. It will be the largest construction project undertaken in the county to date.